5 Major Causes of Hospital Readmissions for Seniors

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

If your senior loved one was recently released from the hospital, the last thing he or she will likely want to do is go back. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, an estimated 20 percent of seniors over the age of 65 are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being released. Learning these five common diagnoses for hospital readmissions can help you keep your loved one healthy.

1. Complications from Surgery

After surgery, it’s important that your loved one’s surgical wounds are cared for and monitored regularly. If your loved one has heart disease, diabetes, or a suppressed immune system, or if he or she is being treated for cancer, it may take longer for the surgical site to heal. Slow healing may result in tissue damage that could necessitate additional surgeries or hospital time. Redness, swelling, bleeding, excessive pain, and/or drainage may all indicate your loved one’s wound isn’t healing as it should.

2. Infection

Even though hospitals take extreme care to prevent germs from being passed from one person to another, infections may occur. Your loved one may get an infection while in the hospital without symptoms appearing until he or she has returned home. If your loved one experiences fever, chills, vomiting, or low urinary output, or if he or she is extremely fatigued, talk to his or her doctor.

A professional caregiver can monitor your loved one for post-hospitalization complications, including infections. When searching for reliable homecare agencies, families want to know their senior loved one will be well taken care of. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained caregivers are available around the clock to assist with tasks around the house, provide transportation to medical appointments and social events, and much more.

3. Comorbidity

Many seniors have multiple chronic conditions or diseases. Having two or more of these conditions is known as comorbidity. If your loved one has multiple conditions, he or she has an increased likelihood of developing a problem related to one of them. For example, if your loved one was recently in the hospital for treatment of congestive heart failure, he or she may experience kidney problems as a result. Make sure the hospital and all medical personnel are aware of all your loved one’s medical conditions to ensure he or she receives appropriate care.

4. Pneumonia

Pneumonia occurs when the small air sacs in the lungs become filled with fluid, which causes the lungs to become irritated and makes it difficult to breathe. Pneumonia often occurs as a result of being exposed to bacteria, irritants, viruses, or chemical exposure. Because pneumonia takes time to develop, your loved one may not exhibit the symptoms while in the hospital. If your loved one experiences shortness of breath or a persistent cough, talk with his or her doctor.

Many aging adults need assistance when they return home after being hospitalized. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Rhode Island, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.

5. Side Effects of Medication

Many seniors take multiple medications that can have a variety of side effects. Newly prescribed medications that were given in the hospital may not cause side effects until your loved one is home. Swelling, light-headedness, abnormal blood pressure, heart palpitations, vomiting, and/or diarrhea could be due to the medications your loved one is taking.

A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after being hospitalized. Rhode Island homecare service experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (401) 284-0979.